Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader Sanjay Joshi may not be seeing eye to eye now and Modi on Thursday had his way in ousting Joshi from the BJP National executive, but at one time they were friends and in fact started their political careers together in Gujarat.
"They had a very good equation earlier, but things have come to such a pass that they cannot see eye to eye now," sources close to Sangh Parivar who worked with both of them said.
"Things have come to such a stage now that Modi feels threatened that if Joshi is allowed to be reinstated in the party, he could be one of the main hurdles to his national ambitions," they said.
"So Modi showed such an adamant attitude for removal of Joshi, sending a clear message to party president Nitin Gadkari and those opposing him from inside the party," they further said.
Joshi came to Ahmedabad in 1988-89 from Maharashtra RSS to join the BJP in Ahmedabad.
In 1990, Modi was general secretary of the state unit of BJP while Joshi was secretary and both worked together for about five years. It was a crucial phase for the state BJP which came to power for the first time in the state with Keshubhai Patel as chief minister in 1995.
However in 1995, after a revolt by the then party leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, Modi was shunted out of the state and Joshi became general secretary (organisation) of BJP state unit.
"BJP was able to come back to power in Gujarat after a revolt by Shankarsinh Vaghela in 1998, when Modi was nowhere in the picture. We had won 117 seats in Gujarat out of 184 in 1995 and 121 in 1998 without Modi," sources said.
The enmity between the two began in 1998, when Modi wanted to return to state but Joshi opposed the move and did not allow him to return, they said.
"Keshubhai Patel once again became the chief minister of Gujarat in 1998. The rivalry grew from that year and it became more intense when Patel was unceremoniously removed as chief minister and replaced by Modi in 2001.
But, the party then transferred Joshi to Delhi and gave him a powerful post of Party General Secretary (organisation).
In the next few years, clout of Joshi began to grow due to his position in the party, sources further said.
However, in 2005, Joshi was forced to resign following controversy over a CD purportedly showing him in poor light. The CD surfaced during the silver jubilee celebrations of the party in Mumbai.
An enquiry subsequently ,however, absolved Joshi by saying that the CD was doctored. The Joshi camp in the BJP pointed fingers at the Modi camp for the origin of the CD.
Almost after six years of the incident, BJP president Gadkari asked Joshi last year to assist the party in the UP assembly polls. But that angered Modi who boycotted BJP national executive in Delhi held in December last year and also did not campaign for the party in UP polls.
"Joshi is a silent worker with immense capability and is popular and loved by party workers. While Modi has an dictatorial attitude," Gordhan Zadafia, who has worked very closely with both Modi and Joshi, said.
"Modi had realised that the main person who will come in his way of national ambition will be Joshi as he knows inside out of him. That is the reason he is so opposed to Joshi," Zadafia, who has left BJP and formed his own party Maha Gujarat Janta party in 2007 said.